JDA's Afghan staff participated in values training. This also served as a fun time to review the organization's history and as an orientation for new employees.
Production of domesticated safflower was minimal before JDA's work started in 2005. A spiny wild-type was grown, particularly in Kabul province, but much less so in the north. It was used primarily as a barrier for animals and children, and harvested for bird feed.
The Development Center, a seven acre property outside the city of Mazar i Sharif, is a place of innovation, ideas and training. The grounds hold a building with classrooms, a lab and a kitchen and is surrounded by a brick wall as is typical of Afghan properties.
JDA has been working with a local university to build a practical hands-on lab to complement the agricultural student's training.
Navroz, meaning "a new day," originates in ancient Persian history, but today is one of the most cherished celebrations for Muslim communities around the world. Starting on the vernal equinox, March 20, elaborate festivities around food, dance and song mark two weeks of celebrations.
Over the years, JDA has cooperated with The Blind Society in Karakalpakstan. They offer programs to the blind, near blind and disabled.
A JDA Field Day is an opportunity for farmers to be introduced to the benefits of using a 2-wheel tractor in contrast to traditional methods of using oxen and spreading seeds by hand.
"Berries of the ground" as strawberries are called in Dari, are a hugely popular and highly profitable crop in Afghanistan. And in late fall a new generation of strawberry plants were put in the ground.